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Mariners' season rests in Moyer's 38-year-old left hand

Mariners' season rests in Moyer's 38-year-old left hand

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CLEVELAND - Jamie Moyer and the Seattle Mariners must now do what has come naturally all season.

They both need one more win.

Moyer will face the Cleveland Indians in the decisive Game 5 at Seattle's Safeco Field on Monday after the Mariners staved off elimination with a 6-2 win Sunday.

"There's nobody I'd rather have out there on the mound," reliever Jeff Nelson said of the soft-tossing left-hander.

Outfielder Jay Buhner agreed: "He's the perfect guy to have out there in this situation. Not much fazes him. He's pretty cool."

Moyer once again will face Chuck Finley in a battle of 38-year-old left-handers who have waited all their careers for a game such as this.

"It's exciting," Finley said. "It comes down to the fifth game and your name gets called, you ought to be able to honor that and go out and enjoy it, try the best you can, and go out and win."

Finley had gone 15 years between postseason outings before starting and losing Game 2 in Seattle. He gave up a pair of two-run homers before getting an out and hoped to get another chance.

"After that game, I kind of figured we would be back to Seattle anyway so I was already starting to think about that," Finley said. "Obviously, I've got to make better pitches."

The Indians signed Finley to a three-year, $27 million contract before last season to pitch in big games. This year, he struggled with injuries in the worst season of his career - going just 8-7.

One big outing Monday could prove the Indians' investment sound.

"We all get knocked down and come back," Cleveland reliever Paul Shuey said. "Chuck's maybe the elder on our team. He's probably been knocked down the most and come back the most."

So has Moyer, who is making up for lost postseason opportunities. He missed the Mariners' playoff run last year with a hairline fracture of his left kneecap. In 1997, he was forced out of a division series start against Baltimore with a strained left elbow in the fifth inning.

Until this season, he also struggled against Cleveland, going 3-7. But in going 20-6 to help the Mariners to an AL record 116 wins, he finally mastered the Indians.

In three appearances covering 20 innings, he went 3-0 and allowed just two runs and 10 hits, including his 5-1 win in Game 2.

"Jamie relied on location and he'll have to do it again," catcher Tom Lampkin said. "He'll try to keep the ball in the bottom part of the zone.

"It will be a test for him to face them again so shortly."

Both 16-year veterans will be working on three days' rest.

"I think I have done it once," Moyer said. "It really doesn't make a difference. The way I look at it, who cares?"

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